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I am thinking of getting a small gift for my friend, preferably a small / medium size Photography Book (that can put on the coffee table) or for guests to boserse through - casual reading. My budget is less than US$50. The photography book can be a combination of works by several photographers or maybe a theme / just one famous photographer.

Are there any "classic goodies" out there?

please free to drop any comments

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    I've converted this to community wiki, as there isn't really a correct answer here, and it will ultimately just be a list of recommendations. – jrista Feb 12 '11 at 23:25
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Wide Angle: National Geographic Greatest Places

Through the Lens: National Geographic Greatest Photographs

Both these books have 504 pages of absolutely stunning photographs. They have a mix of styles that reflect the magazines different photographers and times. I own both, among many others, but these two are my favorites. For what the cost, both these books are a fantastic bargain.

The photographs from National Geographic almost all have a lot of depth to them, which makes looking at each photo quite interesting. I went through each of these several times and seem to often notice new details.

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  • 'The Americans' by Robert Frank
  • 'Workers' by Sebastiao Salgado
  • 'Portraits' by Steve McCurry
  • '400 Photographs' by Ansel Adams

The list goes on and on.

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    +1 though I'm not sure 'Workers' or 'The Americans', while seminal works, might fit the coffee-table light chitchat bill. Depends on your friends I guess ;-) – Kevin Won Feb 14 '11 at 19:18
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"The Photo Book" published by phaidon is a great collection 500 photos from the worlds mst famous photographers. It's a great book to flip through. The hardcover edition has become a bit if a collectors piece so you might have trouble getting it for you budget. The paperback is cheap but not exactly a coffee table book.

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I like the Vanity Fair portraits book for my coffee table.

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